Gems of Bavaria. Germany

my slow trip Bavaria tour Nuremberg Albrecht Dürer House (5 von 1)

Bavaria. Germany’s largest State Province by area, about the size of Ireland with two and a half times its population. It is an ecconomic power region, with the Munich metropolitan area being one of the wealthiest in all of Europe. Home of global corporations such as Siemens, BMW, adidas, SAP, and Allianz.

Being so close to my home Austria, I always wanted to explore the gems of Bavaria outside of its dominating capital city Munich. So off I went and got some nice surprises on my way. Come and join me on a short tour of Eastern Bavarian highlights.

My trip  starts in a tiny village in the northernmost part of Bavaria, Unterfranken. It was home to the sculptor Reinhard Dachlauer. A small replica of the bull & bear ensemble reminds the visitor of the big originals in front of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, modelled by this same artist.

Bad Kissingen is one of the best known spa towns in Germany. It boasts the largest group of neoclassical style spa buildings architecture in the whole of Europe.

Würzburg was an important base for the Fürstbischöfe (Duke Bishops) in Baroque times. They held both ecclesiastical as well as secular power. The Residenz (“Residence”) is a fantastic example of baroque architecture and is compared to Versailles in France and Schönbrunn in Austria.

The Saint Kilians Dome with its iconic two main towers dates back more than a thousand years and is the seat of the church of Würzburg. In classical romanic style it is one of the largest churches of its kind in Germany.

The Marienkapelle was built by the catholics on the main market square after the Jewish community was extinguished following the black death in 1349. Jews were held responsible for the pandemic and accused of having poisened water wells.

The origins of the Fürstlich Castell’sche Bank date back 250 years. After disastrous crop shortfalls due to bad weather, the bank was founded to “micro finance” and help merchants and craftsmen with their businesses.

The old Town Hall was built nearly 700 years ago and is the oldest public building in romanic style in Würzburg. Today, it still houses parts of the city’s municipal departments.

That’s what I love about travelling. You always encounter surprises. If not big wow effects, so at times small things You can smile about. Such as this ad for a fashion boutique on a manhole cover.

Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second largest City after Munich. After having been heavily destructed in WW II, the lovely Old Town with its typical front facade looks has been beautifully restored. It is still surrounded by an impressive defensive wall.

Albrecht Dürer is Nuremberg’s greatest art son. As one of Germany’s foremost Renaissance artists, he gained legendary reputation with his graphics. They are exhibited in the top museums of the world. A few examples can be seen here at the Albrecht Dürer Haus.

This house, which was built in 1420, was bought by Dürer in 1509. He lived and worked here until his death in 1528. Today it houses a small museum, that also exhibits a few originals of his oevre.

Watching this original Maria with Jesus mini copperplate graphic from a close-up perspective was a true wow-moment for me. I can hardly grasp the miniscule details of the motive, both in the front of Maria but also in the city skyline backdrop.

The Frauenkirche on the main square is in gothic style. Just as the Marienkirche in Würzburg, it was built after the Jewish pogroms in 1349 on the grounds of a former synagoge that was destroyed following the plague.

Nuremberg – having been one of the main strongholds of the Nazis – has also made history with the famous Trials of the top Nazi elite right after WW II. They took place in the Big Palace of Justice.

I remember photos we watched in history lesson at school  depicting the Nazi heads sitting their trial on the bench. Standing now in this very courtroom where the likes of Goebbels, Keitel and Jodl were sentenced to death on Oct 1, 1946, feels almost surreal.

The big arena of the Reichparteitagsgelände (“Area of the Party Congress”) is witness of the gigantomaniac madness of Hitler. Planned to be covered by a roof 70 metres above the big auditorium, it was supposed to hold more than 50,000 attendants. It was never finished, a visit there is recommendable yet very spooky.

How bizarre is it, that on the door of one of the very monuments of the Nazi Regime, there is a poster of the SPD, the German Social Democratic Party.

The final stopover on my tour is Regensburg, with a very rich history spanning two millenia. Magnificent Regensburg Cathedral has a 500 year history and still is the bishop’s church and the principal church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg.

my slow trip Bavaria tour Regensburg Thurn Taxis Castle 2 (5 von 1)

The gorgeous Castle in the City center is home to the Thurn & Taxis family, that has shaped Regensburg for centuries. Franceso Tasso has basically invented the Postal system, when he started to act as a royal courier between Innsbruck and Brussels. The family have then expanded the postal service network across Euope and controlled it for a long time.

Today, the Castle that is surrounded by 7 hectars of parkland, and is one of few fully functional residences in Germany, where the Thurn & Taxis family still lives. They have been avid entrepreneurs over many generations, and are the largest private forest owners in Germany.

The tour of Regensburg Castle perfectly rounded up my short trip through Eastern Bavaria. Definitely worth a visit.